“Good friends are to have many of.” ~ Japanese proverb
One such good friend I found is Fariba of Zozobaking. Fariba, a beautiful person, both inside and out, who just got married, has been a passionate baker since childhood and also, by formal training. She first studied at the San Francisco Baking Institute and later at Lenotre School in Paris. Today, Fariba teaches baking classes, where her students learn to create traditional home-baked pastries and desserts. Fariba also bakes for sale at her licensed home kitchen. When I saw the color of Fariba’s Mom’s quince preserves in Fariba’s article, Kerman, Copper Bazaar, and Quince Jam, I asked her, if it was not a family secret, if she would share her Mom’s recipe with me. Fariba immediately e-mailed me the method recipe. Thanks to her, I did not miss this quince season and made three jars of aromatic quince preserve!
Murabba, also morabba, is an Arabic word that refers to sweet or savory jams, preserves and pickles, in many regions of Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Pakistan, and North India. It is traditionally sweet, prepared with raw fruits, sugar and spices. In Iran, morabba is synonymous with sweet preserves/jams, mainly of fruits and flowers. Quince, cousin of apples and pears, is one of the most favored fruit preserves in Iran. It is known that copper pots are ideal for making quince preserves. This is because copper gives them the favorable, dark pink color (like a maroon glass), which Fariba’s Mom’s quince preserves had. Although I do not have a copper pot, I used Fariba’s Mom’s recipe as my valued benchmark and incorporated just a few of my twists (as we foodies are known to do) in the method and in flavoring/aroma to what was already a fantastic recipe.
Quince Preserves | Morabba'ye Beh • مربای به
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com) adapted from
method recipe of “The Mom” of Fariba of ZozoBaking (zozobaking.com)
• 800 g / 1¾ lb quince before peeling/coring (about 2 medium~large size)
• 700 g / 3½ cups granulated sugar
• 400 ml / 1 2/3 cups water
• 10 ~ 12 green cardamom pods crushed for good black seeds (avoid pods with dried, brown seeds)
• 2 tsp lemon juice
• 1 tsp rosewater
Also needed are:
• 1 bouquet garni pouch to put the cardamom seeds in
• sterilized glass jars with tight lids for 900 ml of preserves.
◊ Into a medium-sized saucepan that has a lid, add one-third of sugar and place it by the cutting board.◊ Wash the quince very well. Quince has a tough core. It is difficult to cut right into the center, especially if it is not as juicy as desired. And also, peeling quince is not as easy as peeling an apple. The easiest way to take care of this is to hold the quince on a cutting board, leaving the core intact and cut in tic-tac-toe [*] style. Peel the cut pieces. Cut each piece into 13mm / ½” thick wedges (my preference) or for smaller bite size, cut wedges in two. As peeling and cutting, put the quince pieces in the saucepan with sugar, and using silicone spatula, cover the pieces with sugar already in the saucepan (I have found that, this way quince pieces don’t turn brown).
◊ When all cutting and peeling is done, and quince pieces are in the saucepan, add water to the saucepan and bring to a boil on high-heat. Swirl the saucepan to have evenly distributed/stirred the quince pieces in the saucepan. Once fully boiling and sugar has dissolved, lower the heat to “between medium-low and low”. To steep the quince, wrap the lid of the saucepan with a clean kitchen-towel or use 2 ~ 3 layers of paper-towel, and tightly cover the saucepan. (This helps the quince change into reddish beautiful color.) Let it simmer for 2¼ hours. No peeking. No mixing necessary.
◊ Take the lid off. The quince already changed color to medium-peach color. Add the remainder of the sugar all over, cardamon-seeds-bouquet-garni, lemon juice, rose water, and swirl the saucepan. Increase the heat to high and bring to a full boil (this happens very quickly, so stay near the saucepan). Make sure all sugar is dissolved, turn off the heat and remove the saucepan. Let it cool down to warm. While cooling, swirl the saucepan a few times.
◊ When warm (not completely cooled), take out the bouquet garni, gently scoop and fill the jars. Immediately, tightly close the jar lids. Store them in cool, dark place, or like me, refrigerate.
◊ Serve in old-fashioned style at breakfast table, use as ice-cream topping, as cake filling or just for sweet bites at tea time.
~ Noushe jan! • ! نوش جان ~